Coco Gauff labels latest triumph ‘a mental victory’ after coming back from the brink
Coco Gauff was stretched to the limit in her 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(2) victory over Croatia’s Petra Martic at the China Open.
Martic would serve for the match in the final set but Gauff showed her resilience in fighting back and would take the positives from a tough outing.
Gauff felt that it was her faltering serve that left her with her back to the wall when facing the experienced Croatian.
“Today the struggle for me was honestly holding serve,” Gauff said.
“I started off serving well in the first set. I think she started to be more aggressive with the return, so it made me second-guess myself.
“But overall I’m happy with today, it was a mental victory, and happy I was able to get through.”
Gauff had a winning record versus Martic going into the contest, and that victory came in three sets at 2021 Adelaide. In their 3-hour, 1-minute battle on Tuesday, the two worked each other all over the court, striking a similar note to their maiden battle.
Before Gauff gained and converted the first break point of the match, the first set went along with serve, but the second set would be a different matter altogether.
In the second set, Martic fought back by repeatedly putting Gauff to the test at the net. Martic used all of her spins, slices, and drop shots to thwart Gauff’s attempts to maintain any sort of steady beat in the match.
Gauff and Martic combined for seven serve breaks in the second set, after there was only one break point in the first set. Gauff was broken for the fourth time to hand Martic a 6-5 lead, and she would serve out the set.
Martic seemed as though she was about to capitalise on her momentum to win the final set.
Martic began dismantling the American with her pinpoint forehands into the corners as Gauff took a more defensive, reactive stance. After breaking Gauff for a 5-4 advantage, Martic won the opportunity to serve for her sixth Top 5 victory in her career.
Gauff, though, fought back with a dogged effort to break Martic and tie up the match at 5-5.
She said that the match became a mental struggle for her, but she is thrilled that she came through.
“I don’t know how long the longest point was, but I was just telling myself to keep suffering, it will be over in a couple seconds or maybe more than a couple seconds,” Gauff said.
“That’s just like a mental thing.”
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